How Forensic Genetic and Surveillance Technologies Objectify Indigenous Peoples as Extreme Other
(University of Windsor)
Paper short abstract:
This paper shows how forensic and surveillance technologies objectify Indigenous peoples as extreme other by constituting these peoples as approximating life in a state of nature beyond sovereignty and prior to law.
Paper long abstract:
This paper shows how forensic and surveillance technologies objectify Indigenous peoples as extreme other by constituting these peoples as approximating life in a state of nature beyond sovereignty and prior to law. This article empirically analyzes how Indigenous peoples were used in the development of new technologies including the testing of the VisiGen Consortium's Identitas Forensic Chip (Keating et al, 2012), Parabon Nanolabs' Snapshot system, and Kenneth Kidd et al's ancestry SNP panels that have been integrated into Illumina and Life Technologies forensic genetic products. It demonstrates how forensic genetics and increasingly surveillance technologies have been built, in part, through the use of cell lines and data from various Indigenous peoples (e.g. the Karitiana and Surui of Brazil and the Truku and Pangcah of Taiwan) by constituting them as geographically isolated and genetically homogeneous due to high levels of consanguinity. The paper reveals however that these sovereignty enforcing assemblages of prestigious research institutions, state security agencies such as the FBI, and private biotech capital utilize a series of positive and negative exceptions that circulate Indigenous peoples as objects of exchange within the assemblages. However, the article also demonstrates how these assemblages have been affected by Indigenous peoples' resistance since the 1990s through the discourses of Indigenous sovereignty, transnational organizing and transformations in informed consent that have shifted international
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